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Playing With / Hostage for MacGuffin

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Basic Trope: The villain has captured one of the good guys, and demands that the other heroes give him the MacGuffin in exchange for their friend.

  • Straight: Alice is captured by the Big Bad, but the Big Bad tells Bob that he is willing to let her go if Bob just gives him the MacGuffin.
  • Exaggerated: The Big Bad has captured all the heroes except Bob, and is willing to let them go if Bob gives him the multiple plot coupons.
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  • Downplayed: Alice is stuck in a neutral area in a war. The Big Bad is willing to let the hero's side reclaim the area without a fight if he just hands over the MacGuffin.
  • Justified: The Hero is too good hearted to be bribed or blackmailed, but he would do anything to protect his friends.
  • Inverted:
    • The Big Bad has obtained the MacGuffin, but is willing to give it to the heroes in exchange for Alice.
    • Bob calls the Big Bad before the latter can call him and he threatens to activate the MacGuffin if the Big Bad doesn't hands over Alice.
  • Subverted:
    • The Big Bad is about to capture Alice so he can get Bob to give him the MacGuffin in exchange for her safety, but Alice manages to get away...
    • The "hostage" is Captain Awesome's Secret Identity.
    • Bob tries to give the Big Bad the MacGuffin to save Alice, but it turns out that the Clingy MacGuffin has other ideas. It simply reappears in Bob's hand, takes over his body and prevents him from handing it over, etc.
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  • Double Subverted: ... So he captures Carol who just conveniently showed up instead.
  • Parodied: The Big Bad has Alice. Every single meeting after the capturing has the Big Bad saying something along the lines of "you know, I might be willing to let a few things go if you hand over the MacGuffin" Each time.
  • Zig Zagged:
    • The deal is struck, and the hostage exchange goes forward. But it turns out that "Alice" was just a Identical Stranger, and the Big Bad leaves cackling-until it turns out the Macguffin Bob offers is also a fake. Both parties leave feeling rather foolish.
  • Averted: The Big Bad captures Alice as bait because he knows Bob won't give up the MacGuffin that easily.
  • Enforced: ???
  • Lampshaded: "Let me guess, I have to give you the item if I want her back safely, right?"
    • "You have my Macguffin, I have your girl. Let's talk business."
  • Invoked: Bob and the Big Bad are both trying to find the MacGuffin, so the villain captures Alice and keeps her hostage so he will have a back-up plan just in case Bob happens to find the MacGuffin first.
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  • Exploited: Alice is a Damsel out of Distress and bob is a master con artist. Bob takes the chance to make a fake Macguffin while Alice waits for the right moment to strike. Eventually, Bob escapes with both macguffin and Alice in tow.
  • Defied:
    • Realising what the Big Bad is about to do, Alice breaks free on her own before the Big Bad can make his demands for the MacGuffin.
    • Bob, refusing to give the Big Bad the MacGuffin, tries to rescue Alice instead.
    • Alternately, Bob refuses to give the Big Bad the MacGuffin, while being well aware that this will lead to Alice's death.
    • Bob activates the MacGuffin before going to get Alice. The Big Bad Can't Stop the Signal, and what he has left is revenge... except that Bob's Roaring Rampage of Rescue denies him that instead.
    • Bob destroys the MacGuffin the first chance he gets. If it's destroyed, Alice won't be a kidnapping target, right?
    • Bob hands over the MacGuffin to the authorities the first chance he gets — authorities that the Big Bad has no control over (as it's been amply shown). If the Big Bad wants it, he can risk charging into police headquarters and getting the wrong end of a Cop Killer Manhunt on top of everything else he's dealing with.
    • The Big Bad refuses to deal with the myriad ways a Hostage Situation can go wrong and decides it's better to just steal the damn thing from Bob.
  • Discussed:
    Alice: So Bob, If I was captured by the enemy... and they offered my life for the Macguffin... what would you do?
    Alice: Excuse me?!!
  • Conversed: ???
  • Played For Drama: The Macguffin is the only thing stopping the Big Bad from taking over the world...but Alice is Bob's True Love, and he's not powerful enough to rescue her directly. Furthermore, even if he does hand over the trinket,it's highly likely that Alice will be kept hostage anyway, as "extra insurance." Even if the conclusions drawn are clear, Bob agonises over the decision to keep the macguffin and leaved his loved one for dead.

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